Device tax opponents take message to employees

AngioDynamics CEO Joseph DeVivo

Foes of the 2.3% tax on medical device revenue have been making their case to lawmakers for years, and now they're looping in the workers who could be affected by the charge, hosting sessions to educate employees on what they can do to support the repeal effort.

First up was AngioDynamics ($ANGO), The Glens Falls Post-Star reports, as AdvaMed came to one of the company's New York facilities Monday to talk to employees about how the medical device tax could hamper AngioDynamics' business. CEO Joseph DeVivo, who also serves on AdvaMed's board, said this new prong of the wide-ranging effort to get the tax repealed could help spread the word about its effects on the industry.

"We want to educate (employees) about what's going on with legislation," DeVivo told the Post-Star. "We want to educate them about how they can get involved. Hopefully, if this goes well, this will be a prototype for how we work within other device companies to educate and engage."

In their presentation, DeVivo and AdvaMed took shots at the idea that the Affordable Care Act, funded in part by the tax, will be a net benefit for medical device companies. Proponents of the tax, including President Barack Obama, argue that companies will more than make up the difference when 30 million previously uninsured patients become potential clients next year. But the industry points out that those patients are likely to be young and unlikely to need knee replacements and vascular devices, giving them little in return for the tax.

The elephant in the room, of course, is the prospect of job cuts designed to dull the blow of the 2.3% charge. From the Post-Star story, it seems neither AngioDynamics nor AdvaMed took this angle in their presentation to employees Monday, but the likes of Boston Scientific ($BSX), Smith & Nephew ($SNN) and Welch Allyn have already blamed the tax as they've slashed thousands of positions over the past year.

Just where AdvaMed will take its worker-targeted message next is unclear, and a group spokesperson didn't return a request for comment Tuesday.

- read the Post-Star story

Special Report: Let's not hold our breath for a device tax repeal

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